Memo to our new Ashe County Arts Council Executive Director Jeff Fissel:

Dear Jeff, first off, welcome. We are glad to have you here and at the head of the team directing all things art in Ashe County. We are anxious to have you apply your impressive fundraising skill set to that mission and look forward to supporting you as you learn to maneuver the storied and varied world of artists, artisans, staff and army of volunteers that comprise your new position.

Second, and most importantly, you have no doubt noticed the rather large palette and paintbrush sculpture just outside of your office building. Note that there is no accident as to the placement of this piece of art. It is there to remind you that West Jefferson and Ashe County present a canvas larger than life when it comes to crafting the arts destination so ably begun by your direct predecessor.

And speaking of Jane Lonon. We understand you are not her, and neither do we want you to be. Now is the time for you to plot the course of our arts future and assemble your own teams and direction as you guide the way.

Ashe County and West Jefferson are not the places they were a generation ago. Our murals, festivals, galleries, revitalized downtowns, towns and more have made it a destination different from that which it was.

Now, we embark on a new journey toward an Ashe County that a generation from now will look as distant as today does from the days of the Creeper.

Welcome aboard.

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